Saith Me.. Informed Citizenship

It requires more than just voting in order to practice informed citizenship. You cannot only tune-in every 2-4 years and hope that you’ll have more than a narrow understanding of the issues.

The world is complex and deferring your civic responsibility to others isn’t going to make you satisfied with the actions of the government.

You might not be a bad citizen if this is what you choose to do, but you won’t be an informed citizen.

informed-citizenship

Bias in the Media

Media bias comes in two forms, the suppression of news coverage and the coverage of news in a manner that constitutes propaganda. Propaganda, or what we are being told and sold, makes up half the problem of biased reporting, the other half of the problem lies in the suppression of news.

In an article I was reading this morning, published by POLITICO, there was a great quote by Sharyl Attkisson, “The images that the public sees every day, in many forms, are influenced and manipulated by political, corporate and other special interests through orchestrated and well-financed campaigns.”

I had great hopes, for a brief moment, that for once the media would discuss the presence of and issues caused by corporate or special interest bias in the media. Sadly, rather than branching out past the standard issue of political bias in the media, the article only focused on the well discussed presence of political bias.

Political bias/propaganda is fairly easy for most people to identify, and the educated can maneuver through it with little difficulty. Although frustrating, political bias is not the real danger because it is relatively obvious. It is the corporate and special interest bias/propaganda that hold the real danger for the public, because of the difficulty identifying the motivation. We could say, “It is all about money,” but this oversimplification obscures the difficulties we face in identifying what money is purchasing. Certainly, a corporation would want to increase its earnings and thereby wish to wage a campaign against anything that threatens earning potential, but unlike with pure political bias, the public is more often then not unaware the campaign is being waged. Special interest bias/propaganda is even more difficult to identify, because unlike in a political campaign where the special interest group is identified at the end, news coverage does not include a “paid for by” statement at the end of each news story. Nor will you hear a “this story which we did not cover was suppressed by” statement during the news coverage.

While many can learn to read between the lines of propaganda and glean an understanding of bias, one cannot read between the lines when there are no lines due to suppression.

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Saith Me… Choosing to be Miserable

Interpersonal connections through various modes and methods, specifically during this past two months, have reminded me of the old saying,

“You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”

There is one category starkly missing, some people can never be pleased because they are determined to be miserable.

Regardless of the justifications of misery – temporary or chronic – there is a stark difference between experiencing misery and being miserable.

Wretched, distressful events occur, but it is a choice one makes to become wretchedly distressed by the events. The key factor separating the experience of misery and being miserable is Choice.

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What will be remembered?

Being fully aware of political spin and propaganda, I am wondering if in the end this letter will be what history records for future generations to study.

Willingness to come together for war, but government shutdown in an attempt to stop a health care law. Where does this leave us and what does this mean for our future? Most importantly, what does this really say about us as a nation?

Reid to Boehner 2013

 

PDF of the letter can be found at the ‘letter’ link and at the following:  harry-reid-letter-to-john-boehner.pdf

Saith Me… Debate or Tirade

Differing perspectives can elevate our comprehension of complex issues, but they can also drag us down into a pit of malevolence when discussion and debate are replaced by an unbending quest to convert or conquer.

Saith Me… King of the Hill

Does the enemy attack when we are weak? When we are distracted? Yes, historically there have been attacks when we have been weak and distracted. But we are also attacked when we are arrogantly standing on a hill declaring our greatness to the world.

So when did arrogance begin replacing weakness and distraction as the invitation for an attack? It happened after the First Gulf War, when the US people had shown they supported a fight. After that war, it became clear that the US public had changed since the Vietnam War. Kudos to President Reagan for reestablishing a fighting mentality in the people.

So why is arrogance and the willingness to fight an invitation for attack? In simple terms, the Cold War was a war of economic attrition with both sides betting that military spending would weaken the other side first. Enemies of the US took note, and knew that if the US was drawn into a protracted conflict, it would further weaken the US economy. If the US could be drawn into a preemptive or unilateral fight, then worldwide public opinion would also turn against and weaken the US.

This is the strategy of terrorism, peck at the king on the hill until he is overtaxed, spread too thin. Not so that victory can be achieved in a decisive battle, but so that the king will fall; fall from his own inability to stop reacting to the threat. Fall because rather than sharing the target on his back with allies, he will want to stand on the hill all alone. His arrogance will defeat his kingdom and not the enemy.